Computers in Human Behavior 18 (2002) 315–325 www.elsevier.
Assessing computer anxiety with the interaction model of anxiety: development and validation of the computer anxiety trait subscale
Jean-Philippe Gaudron*,a, Emmanuelle Vignolib
UFR de Psychologie, University of Toulouse le Mirail, 5 Allee Machado, 31058 Toulouse Cedex, France b University of Provence (Aix-Marseille I), France
Abstract This study was conducted to develop and validate a new computer anxiety scale. The scale is based on an interaction model of anxiety that emphasizes the inﬂuential role of speciﬁc situations e.g. computer interaction situations. The data supported the reliability and the validity of the scale. During a computer interaction, greater computer anxiety was associated with greater state anxiety. Interest of using the scale with the Endler Multidimensional Anxiety scales are discussed. # 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Over the past three decades, a considerable body of literature has built up concerning person–machine rapport. Since the description of the eﬀects of the negative attitudes about computers on learning and skills (Loyd & Gressard, 1984; Massoud, 1991), most of researches have been focused on a new form of anxiety called computer anxiety. The terms of computer anxiety (Raub, 1981), computerphobia (Jay, 1981; Rosen, Sears, & Weil, 1987) or computer aversion (Meier, 1985) have been proposed and used to describe the negative reactions of individuals who experience bad feelings and agitations in the presence of, interacting with, or thinking about computers. One of the most best-known deﬁnitions of computer anxiety has been proposed by Maurer (1983), who deﬁned it as the fear and the apprehension felt by an individual when considering the implications of utilizing computer technology, or when actually using computer technology. A signiﬁcant amount of research has been done by authors who have created computer anxiety scales. Some research literature (Cambre & Cook, 1985; Lalomia & Sidowsky, 1993) and validity studies (Dukes, Discenza, & Couger, 1989; Harrison & Rainer, 1992; Meier & Lambert, 1991; Woodrow, 1991) have been produced. They showed the high reliability estimate reported
* Corresponding author. 0747-5632/02/$ - see front matter # 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S0747-5632(01)00039-5
If many studies supported the claim that computer anxiety and other anxieties are not identical constructs. 1991). individuals diﬀer in anxiety proneness with respect to certain types of situations. 1994). they oﬀer little speciﬁc direction for future research or intervention and can make interpretation of results problematic. 1987). And this can also make the interpretation of results diﬃcult. When trait anxiety and situational stress are not congruent. & Vitelli. Computer anxiety has been associated with a lack of computer experience (Cohen & Waugh. & Cox. ambiguous.316
J. A model exists yet: the interaction model of anxiety. The interaction model of anxiety proposes an explanation for diﬀerential changes in state anxiety (Endler. Endler & Magnusson. As Meier has suggested (1985). E. one consequence is that while these scales may be helpful in evaluating such global outcomes as increased societal acceptance of computers. 1990. age (Dyck & Smither. Another concern is the diﬃculty to clarify the relationship between computer anxiety and other anxieties such as math anxiety. as the model can predict diﬀerential increases in state anxiety. 1983. physical danger. Four stressful contexts have been proposed: social evaluation. 1988). According to this model.-P. none of the computer anxiety scales appear to be based on existing anxiety theory (Lalomia & Sidowsky. test anxiety or trait anxiety. Morrow. They have also pointed out the existence of numerous correlates (Maurer. 1993). Vignoli / Computers in Human Behavior 18 (2002) 315–325
by authors and high correlations between these scales. Prell. Rosen et al. It also suggests that the assessment of an individual’s predisposition (such as trait anxiety) must be made with speciﬁc reference to the situational context. & Rosenstein. With a few exceptions. Parker. & Elroy.. Pope-Davis & Vispoel.1993). 1975). & Elias. This is called the diﬀerential hypothesis. supporting the validity of the construct. The interaction model of personality (Endler. Bagby. The use of an instrument which would integrate several anxieties could overcome that serious problem. The identiﬁcation of the threatening situations is based on empirical works. Hunt. 1994. gender (Lankford. Marcoulides. But. 1986). Edwards. Gaudron. they have all veriﬁed the assumption that these anxieties are related constructs. resulting in state anxiety (Endler. 1976) proposes that behavior is a function of the interaction of persons and situations. Bell. the interaction with respect to state anxiety does not occur. Numerous studies
. 1962). taken together. 1994. There is a signiﬁcantly greater increase in state anxiety level of individuals who have a high level of a speciﬁc dimension of trait anxiety when such individuals encounter a congruent situational threat. and daily routine. The last one was added as a baseline measure of the likelihood of being anxious in a daily routine situation (Endler & Osaka. 1989. these reviews or studies indicated some concerns that are noteworthy. This model proposes that trait anxiety is multidimensional and that trait anxiety and congruent situation factors interact to determine appraisal of situational threat. Endler (1983) and Endler and Edward (1985) have argued in favor of a distinction between state anxiety and trait anxiety and have clariﬁed their relationship in an interaction model of anxiety that emphasizes the inﬂuential role if speciﬁc situations. One concern is that most of the scales have no explicit psychological or psycho-sociological theory basis. The ﬁrst three were found on the basis of factor-analyses of variety of potentially anxiety-provoking situations (Endler. personnel characteristics and other anxieties (Kernan & Howard. 1991).
85 for the ﬁrst component. Endler.92 for total scale.93. respectively. 1985). 1991)..2. 1. E.1. and daily routines.. 1991) is a self report measure of state anxiety. Instruments 1. (3) for ambiguous (EMAS-T3): ‘‘You are in new or strange situations’’. (2) for physical danger (EMAS-T2): ‘‘You are in situations where you are about to or may encounter physical danger’’. They have provided empirical support for this diﬀerential hypothesis. students who have high levels of computer trait anxiety will show a greater increase in state anxiety than those who have low levels of that particular dimension only when the dimension of trait anxiety (computer) and type of situational stress (computerized interacting) are congruent.92. or rope-climbing tasks (Endler et al. physical danger. 1. (4) for daily routine (EMAS-T4): ‘‘You are involved in your daily routine’’. 1991) are self-report measures of the predisposition to experience anxiety in four diﬀerent threatening situational contexts: social evaluation.92. State anxiety scale (EMAS-S) The EMAS-S (Endler et al. There were 136 women and 15 men.2. Each item is rated on a ﬁve-point Likert scale raging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). competition situations (Flood & Endler.J. & Parker. Vignoli / Computers in Human Behavior 18 (2002) 315–325
have been conducted in a variety of settings such as examination situations (Endler & Magnusson. 0. ambiguous.-P. The items are rated on a ﬁve-point Likert scale from 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). and 0.89 for the second component. 1990). 0.
. The mean age was 19.38 years. it was predicted that almost everyone’s state anxiety increases somewhat as a function of threat. Alpha reliability coeﬃcient for each scale were 0.93.. According to the model. Trait anxiety scales (EMAS-T) The EMAS-T (Endler et al. Subjects Participants at this study were 151 volunteer undergraduate students attending psychology courses at Rouen University (France). Method 1. public speaking situations (Muller. The purpose of the present research was to develop and validate a measure of computer anxiety based on the interaction model of anxiety.2. Gaudron. 1977). 1980). dental treatment (Ackerman & Endler.2. Alpha reliability coeﬃcient is 0. 10 that measure the autonomic-emotional component of state anxiety as ‘‘Breathing is irregular’’ or ‘‘Hands feel unsteady’’ and 10 that measure the cognitive-worry component of state anxiety as ‘‘Distrust myself’’ or ‘‘Feel uncertain’’. The scale consists of 20 items. 0. Fifteen response items such as ‘‘Look forward to these situations’’ or ‘‘Perspire’’ or ‘‘Feel self-conﬁdent’’ follow each of four situation descriptions: (1) for social evaluations (EMAS-T1): ‘‘You are in situations where you are being evaluated by other people’’. and 0.1.
Respondents have to identify twice which of the six statements most closely summarized the time they have spend with computers (ﬁrst scale) and their level of experience and expertise (second scale). and a internal consistency alpha coeﬃcient of 0.318
J. The scale has a test–retest reliability coeﬃcient of 0.
2. Volunteers were then asked to take two tests with a 1-month interval. the EMAS-S.94). Students had no prior knowledge of the second testing condition to prevent computer anxious subjects from avoiding the experimentation.2. Procedure Subjects willingly completed ﬁrst the CARS. This scale with the same 15 response items was included in the booklet of the EMAS-T as a ﬁfth situation described as follow: ‘‘You are about or you interact with a computer.6. Computer anxiety rating scale (CARS) The CARS (Heinssen. The second was the computerized version of the Standard Progressive Matrices (Raven.2.17 (n=151.D. the students were debriefed and results were individually commented to those who wanted.1. Means. 1. a french adaptation of the famous Anstey’s Dominoes Test. another well-known intelligent test. 1948).3. At the close of the second session. This scale has been used in numerous studies.74). the CEQ. the four EMAS-T and the CATS at the end of a regularly scheduled class.2.’’ 1.=13. Vignoli / Computers in Human Behavior 18 (2002) 315–325
1. Computer anxiety trait scale (CATS) The CATS is built on the model of the EMAS-T described above. & Knight. Computer experience questionnaire (CEQ) The CEQ (Gaudron.87.3. S.5. 1986) is a 19-item ﬁve-point Likert scale developed to assess the relative level of computer anxiety in individuals. The ﬁrst was the pencil and paper D. and item–total correlations of the
. Results 2. At the end of each test. One hundred and sixteen students completed the two tests. The administration of the second test was with computers. The tests Two tests were used in this study.-P. 1. Gaudron.48 Dominoes Test. The ﬁrst test was administered with the traditional paper and pencil booklet. and presented as a measure of another situational dimension of trait anxiety: the predisposition to experience anxiety in a context of computer interactions (Appendix).4. The CATS demonstrated high internal consistency (Cronbach alpha=0.2. 1998) consisted of two subscales with six statements each. students completed the state anxiety scale EMAS-S. E. Computer trait scale characteristics The computer anxiety trait scale (CATS) was found to have a mean of 34.70 (4-week interval). standard deviations. Glass. 1.
the CATS highly correlated with the Computer anxiety rating scale : r=0. CATS items with loadings of 0.45 0.16 0.J.66 0.75 1. These three factors presented in Table 2 explained 77.40 2.-P. The ﬁrst factor is feelings (positive feelings and unpleasant feelings) about computers.0005) indicating that higher computer anxiety was associated with less computer experience.76. the interaction with respect to state anxiety does not occur. Validity analyses Pearson correlations were conducted to examine the relationship between the computer anxiety trait scale (CATS) and the other measures of computer anxiety and experience.23 2.83 2.72 0.52 0. A principal component factor analysis with oblimin rotation was calculated as factors are supposed to be correlated. standard deviations.77 0. The correlation between the CATS and the computer experience questionnaire was also signiﬁcant (r=À0.71 0.70 0.89 1.78
.81 0.32 2. As expected.36 1.64 0.08 3.22 1. In Endler’s interaction model of anxiety hypothesis there is a signiﬁcantly greater increase in the state anxiety level of individuals who have a high level of a speciﬁc dimension of trait anxiety when such individuals encounter a congruent situational threat. ranging from 0.29 1. When trait anxiety and situational stress are not congruent. The loading patterns can be interpreted as follows.56 2.34 1.2.79 1.65.00 1. 2.05 2.38 1. and item–total correlations of the CATS CATS Item 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 M 2. Gaudron.59 0. P < 0.07 S.55 2. 1.56 2. Vignoli / Computers in Human Behavior 18 (2002) 315–325
CATS are presented in Table 1. The second factor deals with the attractiveness of computers. All factors with eigenvalues greater than one were retained and interpreted.99 1.2% of the variance in the CATS scores.78 1.77 2. E. and percentages of variance explained by each factor.30 or greater are listed.43 1.D.79 0.81.44 0.23 Item-total r 0.0005. All items correlated signiﬁcantly with the corrected total score.18 1.74 0. with eigenvalues.73 0.52 to 0.06 2.24 1. P < 0. Intercorrelations between the three
Table 1 Means.71 0.66 0. The third factor is activation of the autonomic nervous system.
eigenvalues.94 0. Feel upset 5. Feel secure 13. As expected.79 0.87 0. Feel nervous 4. Gaudron. Get ﬂuttering feeling in stomach 11.09 7. Heart beats faster 3.67 0.93 12. Perspire Eigenvalues % variance Factor 1 0. ranging from 0. E. Students who have high levels of computer trait anxiety show a greater increase in state anxiety than those who have low levels only when the dimension of trait anxiety (computer) and type of situational stress (computerized interacting) are congruent. There are very moderate correlations between the daily routines trait subscale and the two ﬁrst state anxiety scales.72 0.76 0. Feel comfortable 2.51. correlations between the CATS and the three state anxiety scales show that state anxiety increases after computerized testing for those who have high computer anxiety trait level. Look forward to these situations 1. The highest relationship is between social evaluation and ambiguous anxiety.74 8. and percentages of total variance for the CATS (n=151) CATS item 14.320
J. Have an ‘‘uneasy feeling’’ 6.71 0. and computer interaction has a signiﬁcant correlation with physical danger and daily routines.78 0.68 0. social evaluation has signiﬁcant correlation with the other four trait subscales.98 0.-P. Feel anxious 9.87 0. Feel self-conﬁdent 12. Intercorrelations among the subscales measuring state anxiety after three diﬀerent situations show a similar and very moderate relationship between the non-stressful situation and the two testing situations and a high relationship between the two testing situations. Intercorrelations among the ﬁve last subscales measuring trait anxiety in diﬀerent situations are low to moderate. Enjoy these situations 7.82 0.71 0. Seek experiences likes this 10. computer): testing is associated with evaluation. Feel relaxed 8.25 Factor 2 Factor 3
anxiety scales EMAS-S. The correlations between the social evaluation subscale and state anxiety are greater when state anxiety is measured after testing.93 0.13 to 0. (after the
. the four trait scales EMAS-T and the CATS are presented in Table 3. Among these trait anxiety subscales.42 56. Vignoli / Computers in Human Behavior 18 (2002) 315–325
Table 2 Oblimin-rotated factor loadings.16 1. with no diﬀerences between the two testing conditions (pen and pencil vs. Feel tense 15.89 1.
1991) or negative and positive feelings (Harrison & Rainer.27** À0. 1992.05.38**
0. But very few scales get such items (Gaudron. After pen and pencil test 3. ** P < 0. Physical danger 6. Non stressful 2.
0. the computer anxiety rating scale (Heinssen et al. it is negatively correlated with computer experiences. Daily routines CATS 8. The ﬁrst factor is similar to those called computer anxiety (Dukes et al. 1991).29**
0. The CATS is correlated with another measure of computer anxiety.41** 0. Meier & Lambert.
0. Correlated factors extracted using principal components analysis and oblique rotation with the Oblimin method are comparable with the factors identiﬁed in the numerous comparisons and concurrent validities of computer anxiety scale studies. but not between the state anxiety scale after computerized testing.40** 0.27** 0. E.34** 0. After computerized test EMAS-Trait 4. 1998). and the last situation is perceived as a new or a strange situation.04
0. EMAS-Trait and CATS subscales Subscales EMAS-State 1. Discussion The results of this study suggest that the computer anxiety tait sale (CATS) is a reliable and valid measure of computer anxiety. Social evaluation 5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
0. Gaudron. computer anxiety is associated with a lack of computing experience.-P.17 0. It seems to indicate that the third and last situation is perceived as anxious by individuals who score high in daily routines trait anxiety. Ambiguous situations 7.. 1989.37**
0.01. indicating that the ﬁrst situation is perceived as a common situation.24** 0. 1987).33** 0.35** 0.63**
0. As observed by several studies on diﬀerent populations (Maurer.20*
non-stressful situation and after the ﬁrst testing).14 0. The correlations between ambiguous trait anxiety and the three state anxiety scales increase from a non-stressful context to computerized testing context. The second factor is related to computer liking or enthusiasm toward computer used. Vignoli / Computers in Human Behavior 18 (2002) 315–325 Table 3 Intercorrelations between EMAS-State.13
0. Woodrow. Computer interacts * P < 0.13
0. High internal consistency was found.08 0. The third factor is activation of the autonomic nervous system.27** 0.J.37**
0.33** 0. In addition.. 1994).31**
in their study. the correlations between the CATS and the other trait scales are equivalent to those observed between the four EMAS-T: some are low. From those validity analyses. Table 3 indicated that the use of tests as support of interactions with computers has also provoked an increase in state anxiety for those who score high in social evaluation trait. it can be use with the others EMAS trait scales within this model. judged or appraised (Endler et al. (1991). This is not surprising as testing is evaluation. the highest relationship they observed was between social evaluation and ambiguous anxiety (0. and second. It conﬁrms the validity of the computer anxiety trait scale and the usefulness of the interaction model of anxiety developed through Endler’s works. or task dependent.322
J. This study presented limitations. If many studies supported the claim that computer anxiety and other anxieties such as math anxiety. test anxiety or trait anxiety are not identical constructs. Finally. the interaction model of anxiety. So.-P. the
.001) except between physical danger and daily routine for women (0. it is based on a model of anxiety. 1991). When trait anxiety and situational stress are not congruent. Even an interest of the present study is the possibility to establish comparisons with English speaking country studies (and particularly North-American studies). For instance. they have all veriﬁed the assumption that these anxieties are related constructs. E.03).08 to 0. These signiﬁcant correlations ranged from À0. But.43). The results of the present studies give an example of such use. First. In fact. can computer anxiety trait scale be considered as a ﬁfth situational dimension of the Endler’s multidimensional anxiety scale? We need more data.51. the CATS should constitute another measure of computer anxiety.. These intercorrelations are equivalent to those reported by Endler et al. But this new scale has many interests: ﬁrst. Future research should use computer interaction activities that are not perceived as evaluations and that do not require any previous computer experience or knowledge of computers. the interaction with respect to state anxiety does not occur or are moderate. Some were concerning the nature of the sample. and we have reported 0.43 (participants to this study were 2009). the diﬃculty to clarify the relationship between computer anxiety and other anxieties makes the interpretation of results diﬃcult. the moderate intercorrelations between the CATS and the EMAS trait scale raise the question of the existence of a ﬁfth threatening situation in this multidimensional anxiety model. the addition of a computer anxiety subscale does not seem to modify the intercorrelations among the four EMAS-T subscales. The model predicted diﬀerential increases in state anxiety when people who have high levels of social evaluation trait anxiety experience a situation in which they perceive they are being evaluated. more analyses to give any answer to that question. As expected. or task independent situations. as the four situations used in this model are general situations. we observed the greatest increase in state anxiety for individuals who score high in computer trait anxiety when they are exposed to a congruent threat: using a computer. others are moderate. Gaudron. The use of the CATS and the EMAS trait scales could overcome this problem. and computer interaction situation is speciﬁc. Vignoli / Computers in Human Behavior 18 (2002) 315–325
The high correlation between the CATS and the EMAS state anxiety subscales particularly after computerized testing is a major feature of all analyses conducted. all correlations among the trait scales were signiﬁcant (P < . Second.
Gaudron. As they are self-report scales. we have observed that when taking experience with computers into account. culture can provoke a diﬀerential in interpretation.-P.J. 1. A last limitation concerned the nature of these scales. some subjects could respond according to their recognition about what the experimenter wants to know. As Heinssen et al. It is still necessary because only a few authors have taken prior experience into account (Maurer. it should be used with the Endler multidimensional anxiety trait scales. 5. Thus. The ﬁndings of the present study have shown that the CATS is a reliable and valid measure of computer anxiety. 3. 4. We could not explore the eﬀect of gender. On a French population. suggested in 1987. E. So we need further research on the American population to evaluate the structure factor of the CATS.
Appendix. 7. Seek experiences like this Feel upset Perspire Feel relaxed Have an ‘‘uneasy feeling’’ Look forward to these situations Get ﬂuttering feeling in stomach Feel comfortable
Acknowledgements This research was supported by the INETOP—Paris (Institut National d’Etude du Travail et de l’Orientation Professionnelle). Another sample limitation was that subjects were all university freshmen. In future. researchers should attempt to replicate these ﬁndings with well-balanced gender sample. Another limitation of the sample was that 86% of the sample were women. 6. We tried to present the French items and the original items as close as possible. diverse age and educational groups. altogether. Based on an interaction model of anxiety. The Computer Anxiety Trait Scale (CATS) You are in situations where you use or you are about to use a computer. But their ultimate promise will be fulﬁlled when they are subjected to cross validation and factor analysis with other populations and when computer interaction is considered as a ﬁfth situation in the interaction model of anxiety. 8. Vignoli / Computers in Human Behavior 18 (2002) 315–325
results of this research was limited by a possible eﬀect of translation. there is no diﬀerence in computer anxiety levels between men and women. the question of sex diﬀerences in computer anxiety demands further investigation. these ﬁve scales should constitute a useful tool for investigating relationships between computer anxiety and other anxieties in diﬀerent situations. 2. But most authors in the area of trans-cultural validity studies have shown that whatever the quality of translation. 1983).
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